As the mother of a rising senior and football player at WW-P North High School, I encourage our community to band together to save our football program, as well as the other sports that are in jeopardy at our respective schools.

In a move that cuts directly against its mission, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association voted against allowing WW-P North and WW-P South to merge their football teams.

Our district superintendent and athletic director presented clear, compelling reasons for the merger, including the dwindling numbers of football players from feeder programs and the high risk of injury for boys on the WW-P North and South teams.

The NJSIAA’s refusal to recognize the challenges faced by the WW-P District—and instead punish the WW-P schools, players and students—is disheartening to say the least. Certainly, the vote does not comport with the NJSIAA’s stated mission to provide “fair and equitable opportunities” and a “safe and healthy playing environment.”

If you have ever been to a WW-P Knights varsity football game, you will see a group of boys who play their hearts out each Friday night. Many play both sides of the field, risking injury and sheer physical and emotional exhaustion. Throughout the year, they work in the weight room and study plays to make sure they are mentally and physically ready for the season.

The board of education recently approved a resolution allowing students at the middle and high school level to participate in extracurricular activities at another WW-P school if their particular school does not offer the activity.

Other school sports, such as baseball, softball and lacrosse, will be facing the same dilemma in the coming years, and the board resolution provides our children with an opportunity to participate in all WW-P has to offer on a district-wide level.

I encourage people to voice their support by contacting the NJSIAA (njsiaa.org or (609) 259-2776) and our legislators, who have been actively engaged on this issue.

— Robin Rome, West Windsor